The Banner should have had my opinion on why the African American incarceration rate is so high in the Roving Camera section of its Sept. 10, 2009, issue.
It’s because black and Latino men are routinely overcharged and over-prosecuted across the country, and because access to adequate defense is limited and oftentimes people are forced to take plea agreements that they shouldn’t take because they get under-qualified, under-experienced lawyers.
Gov. Deval Patrick should be applauded for speaking out against the firing of 100 Hyatt hotel housekeepers, who are being replaced with lower-paid workers from an out-of-state staffing agency. It is a step backward — to a business model that will increase human misery without improving the bottom line.
The Hyatt employees, some with tenures of over 20 years, will be immediately at risk for poverty — and possibly homelessness and hunger — at painful human cost for the families affected and great expense to taxpayers.
At the same time, the Hyatt firings are likely to backfire as a cost-cutting move. Even without the threat of boycotts and bad publicity, Hyatt is losing a valuable resource in loyal and experienced staff. Investing in training and supporting workers brings bottom-line benefits in customer satisfaction, reduced turnover and efficiency. This message has been underlined by the success of the Boston Foundation SkillWorks initiative, in which ABCD is a partner; participating businesses have achieved a positive return on investment through training and education of workers. Cutting wages and benefits, on the other hand, is a false economy which benefits no one.
Every week, we see thousands suffering from job loss. At ABCD, we are working hard to help laid-off Boston residents find new careers with the help of economic stimulus funds. We provide fuel assistance, child care, housing assistance and other necessities. Losing a job today is a ticket to terrible times.
This is a terrible business decision and Hyatt should give these employees their old jobs back, not offer them temporary work following a public relations backlash. Why is Hyatt balancing their budget on the backs of their lowest-paid employees?